Jobless Claims Continue To Fall

By John S. McClenahen As recovery from the 2001 recession continues, widespread hiring has yet to take place among U.S. manufacturers. However, less than a week before the New Hampshire 2004 presidential primary, layoffs across the U.S. economy seem to be slowing. Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 341,000 for the week ending Jan. 17, some 1,000 fewer than the previous week's revised total of 342,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported Jan. 22. The department's four-week moving average of initial claims, regarded as a better indicator of underlying labor market conditions, also fell last week, declining to 344,500, a decrease of 3,250 from the previous week's revised average of 347,750.

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